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Postales desde Google Earth

8 abril 2013 - 18:13 - Autor:

¿Qué sucede cuándo te comes la pastilla roja Y la pastilla azul? Pues que se produce un fallo en Matrix: los puentes y las carreteras parecen salidos de un sueño de Dalí, y el cartero llega montado en la bicicleta de Albert Hoffman, y saca de su saca estas postales de Google Earth.

En realidad, la génesis de estas extrañas imágenes no proceden de un fallo en Matrix sino de un fallo en Google (que viene a ser lo mismo). El protagonista de ‘El mapa y el territorio’, Jed Martin, fotografiaba los mapas de carretera de Michelin y los convertía en obras de arte. Clement Malla empezó a hacer lo propio con imágenes de Google Earth hasta que se dio cuenta de que su representación de la realidad no era precisa sino más bien alegórica: a veces los edificios parecían estar boca abajo o los puentes se pegaban al terreno, como obras de ingeniería reptantes.

Las imágenes 3D como las que muestra Google Earth están generadas a partir de una vieja técnica llamada “mapeo de texturas” (texture mapping). En ella, las texturas se representan como una superficie pala con muy poca profundidad, emulando las propiedades de la superficie de un objeto. En el caso de Google Earth –explica Malla- se trata de fotografías “a través de las cuales vemos el espacio que se representa debajo, un espacio que nuestro cerebro interpreta como si tuviera tres dimensiones”.

Pero hay algo irreal y paradójico en estas imágenes, por más que nuestro cerebro trate de convencernos de que eso es una simulación tridimensional de una imagen 2D: “Al principio pensé que se traba de errores el algoritmo, pero cuando investigué más detenidamente llegué a la conclusión de que la situación era más interesante: las imágenes no eran fallos, sino un resultado lógico absoluto del propio sistema, una anomalía dentro de un orden, una excepción, pero no un error”, escribe Malla.

Esta disonancia cognitiva tiene su origen en el sistema de mapeo utilizado por Google, llamado Universal Texture, una patente de la compañía para crear un modelo 3D de todo el globo terráqueo. Esta tecnología permite “sobrevolar” la superficie del planeta como si asistiéramos a una experiencia fluida, y a una serie de mapas discretos puestos uno junto a otro. Pero su origen no es un solo avión o drone sobrevolando el planeta sino una mezcla de imágenes 2D y datos topográficos 3D tomados de una variopinta variedad de fuentes, procesados para originar una sola imagen coherente en tiempo real.

Es en esta atribulada promiscuidad de fuentes de información y procesos donde aflora el fallo en Matrix, estas imágenes evocadoras salidas de una fantasía onírica.

Postales de Google Earth. Con información de Rhizome y Libro Humanoide, vía Metafiltro.

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Yo creo que es más sencillo de explicar todo esto. Al generar la falsa imagen (a base de, como dices, datos 3D e imágenes 2D) , los datos 3D de los que se dispone en esas escenas son erróneos, bien por anomalías de la escena 3D (la torre) o por errores o ausencias en los propios datos (los puentes). El caso de la foto de la autopista parece un error de frontera (los datos 3D entre dos celdas consecutivas están desajustados, y no casan con la imagen).
En cuanto al mapeo de texturas, simplemente es proyectar sobre objetos 3D (por ejemplo, la representación de una montaña) una imagen (una foto de una montaña), de modo que el resultado final, desde suficiente distancia, parece el objeto real (una montaña realista).

Buenas postales tomadas el uso de las tecnologías en 3D están incursionadas en muchos proyectos y empleadas en apps móviles y utilización del GPS

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